You’ve lathered up on sunscreen and you’re ready to hit the pool. But did you remember to put sunscreen on your feet? The tops of feet are among the places people commonly forget to put sunscreen. (Other commonly missed places include the ears, eyelids, lips, and scalp.)
You may not think to put sunscreen on your feet, but the reality is, your feet are just as prone to sunburn—and thus skin cancer—as any other areas on your body. The soles of our feet are protected from the sun’s ultraviolet light by a thick layer of dead skin cells, but the tops of our feet take in direct sunlight when we wear flip flops, sandals, and other shoes that don’t cover the entire foot.
Whether you’re headed to the pool or beach, or simply spending a day outdoors, don’t forget to apply sunscreen to the tops of your feet as well as your ankles. Be sure to reapply sunscreen after swimming or sweating. If you do get sunburned on your feet and you don’t have any aloe vera on hand, here are a few tips to treat angry, sunburned feet.
• Apply Potato Juice/Paste — It may sound strange, but many people have found the juice of potatoes beneficial in treating minor skin irritation and inflammation, including sunburn. Grate up 2 potatoes using a food processor, blender, or grater. Then soak cotton balls or a piece of gauze in the potato juice and place on the tops of your feet. You may also try applying the grated potato or simply potato slices directly to your feet.
• Cool Milk Compress — Soak a piece of gauze or a clean, soft wash cloth in cold milk and apply to the tops of your feet, gently pressing. Leave in place as long as needed, and re-saturate the gauze or cloth when necessary.
• Baking Soda Paste — Add cool water to baking soda until it becomes a paste and spread the paste on the sunburned parts of your feet. Baking soda can help remove both the pain and the appearance of sunburn.
• Vinegar Spray — Pour apple cider vinegar into a spray bottle and lightly spritz the tops of your feet with the spray as needed. It is suggested to do this after taking a cool shower.
• Elevate Your Feet — Sunburn often causes inflammation. If you notice that your legs, ankles, or feet are swollen, lie down on your back with your feet propped up on pillows. Your feet should be elevated above heart level.
Remember, no matter what part of your body is sunburned, if you do get burned, it’s important to stay hydrated so your skin can heal, so drink up! Also be sure to apply lotion to your sunburned feet to help prevent the skin from drying.
If you are experiencing problems or have concerns about your sun-kissed feet, contact the Dallas podiatrists at Metroplex Foot and Ankle.